‘The Replicator Moment?’ by Ben Lear, is the second essay in Fireythings Critical Shorts series. Critical Shorts is a series of digital essays promoting critically engaged thought.
In sci-fi, utopian technologies such as the replicator, which can produce most goods from molecules in the atmosphere, have undermined the material basis of the capitalist economy. With products able to be produced from thin air the labour processes of production which constitute capitalism no longer makes any sense. The replicator moment, that is the development of post-scarcity enabling technologies, has paved the way to a future beyond capitalism.
“Whilst the replicator is, as of yet, a fictional device some see the same potential for a replicator moment residing in a suite of personal manufacturing technologies (PMTs) which already exist. The most lauded, and the subject of this article, is the 3D printer.” – Ben Lear (extract from “The Replicator Moment?’).
Fundamentally this essay deals with utopianism within the tech community and the need for a new techno-politics that can transcend the limitations of the present.